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Transfer QB breathes life into Elizabeth Forward offense

| Saturday, Aug. 25, 2012, 1:01 a.m.

There was only one word that came to the mind of Elizabeth Forward coach Mike LeDonne to describe his offense from a year ago.

“Putrid,” he said.

The Warriors managed 11 points per game in going 2-7.

It could've been because LeDonne didn't have a point guard running his offense.

This year he does — in more ways than one.

JaQuan Davidson, a highly regarded basketball player from Duquesne via West Mifflin and McKeesport high schools, transferred to Elizabeth Forward three weeks ago and instantly provides an offensive threat at quarterback the Warriors haven't had in years.

“He adds a whole other dimension with the spread,” LeDonne said. “He can run under center as well, but it is nice to have a young man like that who gives that other dimension.”

The 6-foot-4, 160-pound junior gave a glimpse into what he can do during Friday's scrimmage against Yough with his arms and legs.

First, Davidson ran 39 yards for a score late in the first quarter to give EF a 7-0 lead. He then showed off his arm strength when he launched a ball 65 yards in stride and into the arms of receiver Matt Bernadowski that would've made it 14-0 had Bernadowski not dropped it in the end zone.

And this is all coming from a kid who hasn't played quarterback since eighth grade and first stepped on the field for the Warriors on Aug. 6.

Davidson admits to having some trepidation at playing quarterback after three years away from the position.

“When I started playing quarterback, I had second thoughts,” Davidson said. “I thought to myself, ‘I'm gonna get hit.' ”

While there has been some rough spots, the good has outweighed the bad.

“He has picked it up very fast,” LeDonne said. “He made some mistakes, but that is something we can work on. We are pretty excited.”

Davidson, a former Duquesne resident, went out for the West Mifflin football team as a freshman but didn't make it through camp. He never made it on the basketball court that year either, as he was ineligible.

Davidson transferred to McKeesport last year and played receiver on the football team, but it was basketball where he excelled most.

“To be honest, I love football more than basketball,” Davidson said. “I love it. I am getting a hang of it, and I am going to keep playing it.”

Davidson recently moved in with a family in Elizabeth Township and has been ruled eligible by the WPIAL.

“Hopefully this will be a betterment for the young man's life,” LeDonne said.

It definitely will be for the betterment of the Warriors.

“He is definitely going to help us,” captain Rex Pearce said. “He can do everything. He can play quarterback, receiver and, oh man, he definitely has an arm.”

With an offense that has weapons like Davidson and fellow transfer Jalen French to go with holdovers like Pearce, Bernadowski, Tyler Smith and Anthony Hill, the Warriors have throttled their two scrimmage opponents, Class AA teams.

“There is nothing wrong with that,” LeDonne said. “But we have to worry about what we do. The bar is raised this week with Trinity. Everything changes.”

The Warriors are hoping to make the playoffs for the first time since 2005, and Davidson could be that final piece to the puzzle.

“I am just here to play,” he said. “We are a family, and I am part of this family now. There isn't any turning back now. We want to handle business this year.”

Mark Kaboly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at mkaboly@tribweb.com.

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